Tusculum College has been approved as an official GED Testing Center, which will provide a much-needed service on a regular basis to Greene County and the surrounding communities.
The college received notification this week that it had been approved as a testing center to administer the GED (General Educational Development) tests that provide adults who did not complete a formal high school program the opportunity to certify their attainment of high school-level knowledge and skills.
Jan. 23 will be the first GED testing date at Tusculum.
“The main purpose for Tusculum College to pursue becoming an official GED testing center is to provide a community service for Greeneville and Greene County,” said Melissa Ripley, director of operations and marketing for Residential College Admission, who will be chief examiner for the GED testing at the college. “With high unemployment rate and economic uncertainty, we hope this service will benefit people in the community.”
Tusculum College will become the only testing center providing GED testing on a regular basis in Greene County. Most individuals wanting to take the GED in the county have had to drive Morristown, said Kim Gass, director of Adult Basic Education for Greeneville and Greene County. Tests have been administered at Walters State Community College’s Greeneville Center, but on a sporadic basis. The GED is not offered online.
“The GED testing center being here at Tusculum is going to be an immeasurable blessing,” Gass said. “We’re excited. It is just a win-win-win situation for everyone.” The local program tests 300 to 400 people per year, she said, and the testing center at Tusculum will remove barriers that some of those individuals face. For example, finding transportation to Morristown can be a challenge if the person does not have a car, has a suspended license or cannot leave the county due to probation.
With the county’s high unemployment, the cost of gas to drive to Morristown can be a hardship for those who have lost their jobs, Gass continued. Churches and the court system provide assistance to help individuals pay the $65 testing fee, but funds are not as readily available to help with expenses such as gas.
The Tusculum College testing center may also serve individuals from up to 10 surrounding counties, Gass said, as there is just one testing site in the Tri-Cities in addition to the one in Morristown.
Another benefit that Gass said she hopes comes from the new testing center is the introduction of the college environment to those taking the test. “Most of our students have never been on a college campus,” she said. “We hope that once they are there, they will feel comfortable and may begin to consider the idea that ‘college might be the thing for me.’”
The GED test includes assessment in five content areas: language arts – reading, language arts – writing, mathematics, science and social studies. To complete the entire test takes just over seven hours.
Realizing that it may be difficult for some people to sit for a seven-hour period and that others may have challenges in blocking that amount of time away from family or work responsibilities, the college is going to offer split-day testing as well as Saturday testing in which the entire test will be administered, Ripley said.
The split-day schedule will involve offering half of the test on one day and the remaining half the next day, she explained.
Gass said the split-day testing will eliminate barriers for some individuals in taking the test such as finding child care or having to take a day off from work and lose a day’s pay.
To pass the GED, a test-taker must earn a minimum total standard score of 2250 on all five tests and a minimum standard score of 410 on each content area test.
Nationally, in 2008, 679,861 people took the complete test and 73 percent of those passed the test. Seventy-one percent of all GED test-takers in 2008 had reached grade 10 or higher in their high school education.
Among the most well known GED recipients are Ruth Ann Minner, the first female governor of Delaware; Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy’s restaurant chain; F. Story Musgrave, a NASA shuttle astronaut; the Honorable Greg Mathis, a U.S. District Court Judge; comedian and actor Bill Cosby, who went on to earn a doctorate in education, and Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general.